Bilbao had been selected by UEFA to host Euro matches (11 June-11 July 2021), but the overly strict sanitary conditions imposed by the Basque city to guarantee the presence of the public made UEFA back down.
There will be no Euro 2021 matches at the San Mames stadium in Bilbao. This is what the Basque organizers announced this Wednesday evening, after receiving a letter from UEFA during the day which recorded the withdrawal of the Basque host city.
Bilbao was one of 12 host cities selected by UEFA to host Euro matches, rescheduled from June 11 to July 11, 2021 due to the coronavirus epidemic. But the too strict sanitary conditions imposed by the Basque host city to guarantee the presence of the public have made UEFA back down.
In a long statement criticizing UEFA’s “unilateral” decision to withdraw the organization of the four matches scheduled at the San Mamés stadium (the three matches of the group stage of Spain and an eighth), the Basque organizers have showed their dissatisfaction.
“We are not going to allow the long and rich experience and capacity of the Basque authorities to be called into question for the management and organization of events on an international scale. We are not going to allow any doubts about the criteria to remain. which were decided in this project, “said the organizers, arguing that they acted” with seriousness and responsibility “in the face of the virus.
Bilbao requests reimbursement of costs incurred
Members of Bilbao’s bid to host the Euro have also asked UEFA to send them “in writing what are the points of the contract that we have not respected”, as well as “the point of the contract which mentions the possibility of changing the host city without consulting, communicating or working with this host city “, but consider that there is” no convincing explanation “.
The organizers (city of Bilbao, Basque regional government and local authorities) have started legal proceedings to request reimbursement of the costs incurred (1.2 million euros according to the press release) and of the damage caused by this decision.
“Bilbao will not be the host city of the Euro but (we want) to be clear: we neither accept nor will accept threats, grievances, denigration, and even less the fact of freeing ourselves from all standards which govern, in this period, the measures to ensure the health of our fellow citizens “, supported the organizers. The Euro must be disputed in an unprecedented configuration, in twelve cities in different countries. The semi-finals and the final, in particular, are scheduled in London.